ReConCon: Rule Innovation as Tech Innovation

ReConCon is about re-imagining governance (or systems of rules).

The Founding Fathers of the United States did it, and people have been fighting and dying to preserve and evolve those rules for over two hundred years.

ReConstitutional Convention (ReConCon) is a Digital Age exploration of many of the same broader political themes.

Jake Dunagan of IFTF (Institute For The Future) is one of the driving forces behind ReConCon.

He recently mentioned that:

Several ReConCon participants will be part of Peter Leyden’s Reinventors’ Roundtable on Reinventing Governance. Join us on May 30!:

I agree with the organizers that rule innovation (governance) is as important as technological innovation for future designs.  Rule innovation is sometimes termed meta-rules or governance.  Perhaps rule innovation is even a form of technology innovation, in the broadest sense of technology as knowledge people use.

Paul Romer makes this point about the need for meta-rules and rule innovation in this Ted Talk about the need for Charter Cities.

The mathematics of why systems need rules, and not just technology (extra capacity) may be of interest too..–Thomson_paradox
“It follows that increasing road capacity can actually make overall congestion on the road worse.”

Of course, just intuitively we know advanced material technology can cause advanced problems if we do not have advanced rules (intangible technologies?  improvements in moral understanding and moral character of entities in a system).  Of course, in complex systems with authority and privileged entities, distortions do occur, and sometimes breaking rules is a means to get to a more productive value co-creation state for the majority of entities.

If you want a hard problem to work on consider this:

(1) It is easy to imagine rapidly rebuilding technology innovations from some starting point, and even to imagine a useful end state (e.g., circular technological economy, spiraling upward in capabilities, in which minimum energy, minimum material, minimal build-recycle time are in place for all technologies and their transformations one to another).

(2) It is hard to imagine the same for rule innovations – what is the starting point (a minimum population growing to a larger population of entities?), what are the boundary conditions (one species in the population? multiple intelligent species with rights and  responsibilities?), what is moral understanding and improvement that parallels technological improvement paths?

No simple answers on this – so I would say it is a hard problem to work on — not sure ReConCon is there yet…. but I hope they get there soon.  Our future(s) may depend on it.